Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) Pray for a Persecuted Church
 Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA)Pray for a Persecuted Church

Latest News

One Christian family’s story of unending persecution in India.

May 23 Christian Post

For many westerners, India is an exotic travel destination, offering colorful cultural sites and warm-hearted hospitable people. However, thanks to the new Hindu nationalist leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), today’s India is increasingly marred by religious conflict and Christian persecution. The Purty family’s double tragedy serves as a sad example of this. And for some Indian Christians, their story is not so unusual. Chamu Hassa Purty was a Christian pastor from Sandih village in Jharkhand State. Late one night in October 2015, he was asked to pray for a sick child. He rushed to the family’s home, prayed for the boy and helped the parents admit him to a local hospital. Shortly after Pastor Purty .... 

Card Gracias saddened by the fate of migrants trying to get home 

May 22 Asian News

The situation of migrant workers in India since the country was locked down on 24 March putting more than 120 million people out of work, with no wages, food or shelter, “is heart-breaking to watch,” said Card Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay.
For him, seeing “my people walking home,” some dying “trying to reach home” on foot, because the transportation system was also locked down, is a source of “immense sorrow”.
Three days ago , a group of migrants was hit by a freight train as they rested on the tracks. They had walked nearly 40 km and had to travel 800 more to reach their villages in Madhya Pradesh.
“My heart wept at the train tragedy, ....

Can guilt and confessions really atone for not acting when needed?

May 22 The Scroll

The dismal material condition of India’s poor has been laid bare in our current times of the Covid-19 pandemic that has led to the most stringent lockdown of the world during this disease in our country. Many among our woke, liberal middle-class have felt what they claim is “guilt” during this crisis and a few have written about it too, as many people have died during this lockdown.
Some critics claimed that at the time of writing, about two hundred had died already owing to the lockdown apart from those dying of the disease, though we may never know the actual numbers. Migrant labourers have perished from hunger, fatigue, and other health complications while sometimes walking  ...

Latest News

Two Christian Families Attacked In Chhattisgarh.

May 22 Counter Currents

On the night of the 20th of May 2020, a group of religious fanatics broke into the homes of 2 Christian families who live in a village in Chhattisgarh. The group wielded lathis (wooden clubs) and bows and arrows. At roughly 9pm, the families woke up to a nightmare. A total of 10 people including 5 children were brutally attacked and warned not to return to the village.
Petrified and in a state of shock, the women clung to their children for dear life, while their husbands led them through a nearby jungle, as they ran for their lives under the cover of darkness. With great difficulty and in terrible pain, the Christians headed towards the home of *Raju, the Pastor of their Church....."..

Statement:

May 21 2020

FIACONA is pleased to learn that Pastor Bryan Nerren, of Shebyville, TN was allowed to return to the US by Modi government after confiscating his passport about 8 months ago.
Pastor Nerren's passport was confiscated by Modi government citing minor customs related misunderstanding upon landing in NE India via Delhi. Though he cleared his customs formalities in Delhi, the immigration officials arrested him in Badogra, NE India on Oct 5, 2019. FIACONA had written to the President before he went to India in February 2020. Though the White House promised to work on the case, it took three additional months before the Modi government agreed to return Pastor Nerren's passport.

Christian persecution increased in India: Shibu Thomas

May 19 Matters India

In December 2019, the UK-US based monitoring group Open Doors that publishes an annual World Watch List of 50 countries, ranked India 10th in the world where it is most dangerous to live as a Christian.
The report states that political rhetoric and ambiguous interpretations of the Freedom of Religion Acts (or “anti-conversion” laws) are responsible for the high rate of Christian persecution in India. It is mentioned that the persecution of Christians has worsened steadily from 2014 onwards.
These are also the times when more and more incidents of persecution of Christians are coming to the foreground of ....

Latest News

FIACONA is Deeply Sadened by the Death of Dr. Ravi Zacharias:

May 19, 2020

The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations is deeply saddened by the sudden death of one of America's popular Indian American Biblical teachers Dr Ravi Zacharias

 

FIACONA has learnt that Dr. Zacharias passed away at the age of 74 due to a rare form of cancer after it was discovered only a couple of months ago this year.

 

The Indian Amwerican Christian community conveys our sincere condolences to his family and millions of followers around the world.

 

The untimely death of Dr. Zacharias is a loss not only for the Indian American Christian community but for the Christian followers all over the world.

Police Arrest, Assault Christians Preparing Relief Aid in India.

May 19 Morningstar News

Officers pressured to accuse pastor, others of worship amid lockdown.
A pastor and seven others putting relief packets together for the poor were assaulted by police who arrested them on a baseless allegation of gathering too many for worship amid the coronavirus lockdown in India, sources said.
Pastor Ramesh Kumar, 32, along with Christians Shri Chand, Rakesh Kumar and Mohit Kumar, were preparing aid packets on April 25 for distribution to the poor in Kakrahia village, near Kotiya, Kaushambi District, Uttar Pradesh state, when police stormed in and detained them and four others helping them, the pastor said. “Before they detained us, the policemen used vulgar language and beat me, Rajendra and Rakesh with clubs,” Pastor Kumar told Morning Star News. “Rakesh sustained an injury on his hand and developed swelling because of the beating.”..

Unending suffering of poor migrant workers trying to reach home. 

May 14 Christianity Today

When the Indian government announced the nationwide lockdown on March 24, millions of laborers across the country were left with no job, money or food to eat.
Though the government arranged transportation for poor migrants stranded in different cities to go home, the number was few compared to the need. Therefore, thousands of migrant workers chose to walk hundreds of miles to reach their villages.
For Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, it is "heart-breaking" to watch poor migrants with no wages, food or shelter trying to reach home on foot.
It is a source of "immense sorrow," the Christian leader said.
"Migrant workers, my people are without jobs, without food, without livelihood and security, without a roof over their heads, without hope, and they do not know what the future holds for them. This lockdown has  ...

STATEMENT

May14, 2020,

Washington DC.

 

 

Prime Minister Modi’s Office in a Damage Control Mode:

 

May 15, 2020. Washington DC. Within twenty-four hours of sending the letter to the World Bank expressing concerns over the way in which COVID 19 related funds, including the nature and functioning of a newly created “PM CARES FUND” in India are handled, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) went into a damage control mode and made a U-Turn by making few details public.

 

A few weeks ago, the PMO refused to divulge any information on this mysterious “Prime Minister Cares” fund created in a hurry while there is “Prime Minister’s Relief Fund” already available for the same purposes.

 

On Monday, May 11, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA)  and Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) sent a multifaith letter to the World Bank expressing concerns over how COVID 19 related funds are handled by the Indian government. Thirty-four different organizations signed it. The letter suggested the Bank to consider setting up an independent committee of eminent people in India to monitor the $ 1 Billion COVID 19 related relief package approved by the World Bank.

 

On May 12, Tuesday night, the PMO reversed its position and issued a statement, saying the PM Cares Fund will spend $4.1 Billion (31,000 Crores Rupees) on COVID 19 related expenses.

 

Out of this amount, the statement indicated that $ 2.7 Billion (2000 Crore Rupees) would be used for buying 50,000 ventilators at the cost of roughly $ 5,330 dollars apiece, and over $ 13 million (1 Billion Rupees) for vaccine development.

 

While FIACONA and STPC welcome the Prime Minister’s change of heart, we are disappointed that the information revealed is too vague and devoid of necessary details such as, how these contracts are awarded or to whom they are awarded, or if the government invited any bids before awarding the contracts.

 

FIACONA still would like to insist that Prime Minister Modi come clean with public funds and not treat it as his private slush fund.

 

FIACONA believes that the lending institutions must have the confidence that the funds provided are used efficiently and transparently by the Modi government. But as of now, such confidence and transparency are lacking. Hence, setting up an independent committee made up of eminent people in India becomes essential to monitor the use of funds offered by the World Bank. Leaving it to the designs of the Modi government, especially after having seen their track record, would be an invitation to corruption and disaster of handling such funds.

 

Click here for a copy of the open letter dated May 11, 2020.

 

Click here for a copy of the statement issued by FIACONA on May 13 2020.

 

Click here for a copy of the statement issued by STPC on May 12 2020. 

Latest News

Christians, non-Hindus in India denied gov't aid during pandemic.

May 13 Christian Post

As many Christians and other non-Hindus in India are being denied government-issued food rations amid the coronavirus pandemic, a coalition of multi-faith representatives are calling on President Donald Trump to hold the country’s leaders accountable.
On Monday, Save the Persecuted Christians in partnership with the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations delivered a letter to Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and World Bank Group President David Malpass.
The letter, signed by multi-faith representatives from 34 organizations and ministries, argues that the World Bank must seat an accountability ...” 

In Jharkhand, India a Mockery of 'Right to Food' as Lockdown Relief Measures Fail to Deliver 

May 13 The Wire

In Bhandariya block of Jharkhand’s Garhwa district, 76-year-old Lachhu Lohra sits alone.
“My wife died without eating anything,” he says.
Somaria Devi’s demise, on April 4, is the third starvation death in the state in April alone.
Her family had not had anything to eat for three days before her death. There was nothing in the house.
According to Census 2011, about 40% of Garhwa district’s population comprises people belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). Of them, 8,611 families are categorised under the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) who are  .....

Christian Families Summoned, Beaten and Threatened with Death in Chhattisgarh, India

May 11 Morningstar

Christ in various villages refuse to renounce their Christian faith.
Animists in central India last week told five Christian families they would lose their harvest lands unless they returned to their tribal religion and beat them when they refused, sources said. When the families answered a summons to a meeting with Salhephal village leaders in Bastar District, Chhattisgarh state on Tuesday (May 5), they found the tribal elders estimating the value of their lands, pastor Sirisguda Ramdhar told Morning Star News. The Christians had forbidden a tribal animist leader, Dulla Poyami, to perform tribal worship on their land,  ...

STATEMENT

May13, 2020,

Washington DC.

 

 

FIACONA Asks the President and the World Bank to Closely Monitor the Funds Sent to India for COVID-19 Relief:

 

The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) and Save The Persecuted Christians (STPC) jointly sent a letter to President Trump and Mr. David Malpass, the President of World Bank Group raising concerns about the COIVD-19 related policies of the government of India and the deployment of 1 Billion US Dollars lent by the World Bank.

 

The letter addresses several systemic flaws in the Hindu nationalist government's approach to the problem. We are concerned that millions of people are being left out of the programs meant to help the people during this crisis.

 

Several reports indicate that religious minorities are being unfairly singled out by the government in many places as a part of pandemic response.

 

Though Christians and other religious minorities are suffering due to government actions, they are not the only victims. Various sections of economically vulnerable people are greatly suffering due to these fundamentally flawed attitudes of Mr. Modi's Hindu nationalist government.

 

Because the core constituents of the Hindu nationalist party are always religiously upper-caste Hindus, linguistically Hindi speaking, and economically middle class, government policies seem to be crafted for them instead of the whole population.
The evidence of it was loud and clear last month when tens of millions of migrant manual workers working in cities, who happen to belong mostly to lower castes, were left to fend for themselves after Prime Minister Modi made a surprise announcement to lock down the entire nation after a four-hour notice with no planning or contingencies.

 

Mr. Koshy George, the President of FIACONA pointed out the fact that when the BJP government under Modi sent several government-funded special aircraft to fly stranded Indian tourists and workers from various countries back, millions of poor migrant worker with small children and pregnant women were forced to walk hundreds of miles on an empty stomach to reach their villages.

 

Most of the funds from the World Bank are meant for testing and managing the infections. But even in testing for the virus, we have documented that the officials are unnecessarily singling out poor religious minorities for targeted testing and vilification in the media. Such sustained vilification encouraged by the Hindu government is creating an enormous level of friction and tension in society. It is like a powder keg that could explode at any time.

 

Moreover, though many belonging to particular religious groups test negative for COVID 19, they are detained along with those quarantined for having tested positive.

 

The Covid-19 relief measures of the Modi government are NOT aimed at helping the poor, migrant labor, or the women – the most vulnerable during this time. Instead, the government programs are aimed at helping large business houses affiliated with Mr. Modi's party.

 

At the same time, small businesses owned by religious minorities are targeted for closures. Several of Mr. Modi's colleagues in the government have openly called for boycotting businesses owned by religious minorities during this pandemic. Mr. Modi kept silent all through indicating his support.

 

Mr. John Prabhudoss, the Chairman of FIACONA said, "Verified reports also inform us that Prime Minister Modi has created a fund called 'Prime Minister Cares Fund' in March to collect money for managing the pandemic. But the problem is this fund is outside the purview of public scrutiny or audit. This means, details of this fund, like how much money is collected, or how it is spent, who is getting it, etc. are all secret".

 

Prime Minister Modi's office has already denied requests for any details about this fund. This kind of practice by Mr. Modi has created room for concerns about the possibility of even the World Bank funds being misused by him.

 

So, he further said, the letter co-authored by STPC and signed by 32 other organizations is asking President Trump and Mr. David Malpass, the President of the World Bank Group to put in place a mechanism to address if not reduce the drawbacks in the approach of the Hindu nationalist government and possible misuse of funds meant for COVID-19.

 

Specifically, we are recommending them to seat a committee made up of multi-faith leaders and eminent economists in India as a watchdog that will report directly to the World Bank. They can oversee how this money is spent instead of leaving it all in the hands of a government that has already proven to have a flawed approach.


Our suggestion is purely a precaution so that we won't have to see further deterioration and misuse of funds in an already stressful situation in India.
 

Latest News

Christian leaders say Indian Supreme Court's ruling is limiting their right to manage medical institutions.

May 7 ChristianToday

On April 29, the Supreme Court of India ruled that medical schools run by religious minorities like Christians and Muslims do not have the right to admit medical degree students of their choice.
The court said all medical schools should admit students based on their merit list obtained through the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in order to have a single unified admitting process.
The constitution of India allows religious minorities to establish institutions and manage them for the betterment of their communities, which also gives them the right to admit students of their choice. ... 

Hindu nationalists have falsely accused Christian missionaries of being behind the lynching of two Hindu priests. 

May 7 ChristianToday

UCA News reports that after two Hindu priests and their driver were murdered by a mob in Gadchindhali village in Maharashtra's Palghar district in April, Christians were quickly blamed for the killing despite no clear evidence that any believers were involved.
The three individuals were on their way from Mumbai's Kandivili to Silvassa to attend a funeral when they were stopped by a vigilante group that was set up by locals to patrol during the night, the Times of India reported. After questioning the men they suspected of being kidnappers or robbers, the mob pelted stones ...

When Government Committee Said ‘No CSR’ (Corporate Social Responsibility) for PM Relief Funds, Why the Sop for PM CARES FUND?

May 6 The Wire

Contribution to central government funds runs contrary to the philosophy of CSR which is the leveraging of innovation of the private sector to deliver public goods and services.
On March 28, 2020, as the incorporation of a new relief fund was announced by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Ministry of Corporate Affairs swiftly issued a general circular which clarified that any contribution made to the new fund, that is the PM CARES Fund shall qualify as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) expenditure. The circular’s impact is far ...

Latest News

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Refuses to Give Details on PM-CARES, Citing Controversial SC Statement.

April 30 The Wire

The PMO also refused information regarding the implementation of the national lockdown and how this decision was reached.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has refused to make documents related to the PM-CARES Fund public. The fund was set up to receive financial aid from the public to fight the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the PMO has also refused to make public details of high-level meetings on COVID-19 and on the decision to implement a lockdown, the correspondence between the Ministry of Health and the PMO in this regard, and files related to COVID-19 testing.... 

Emergency Powers during COVID 19 Shouldn't Be Weaponised to Suppress Dissent: UNHR Chief 

April 30 The Wire

Shooting, detaining, or abusing someone for breaking a curfew because they are desperately searching for food is clearly an unacceptable and unlawful response, the UN body chief Michele Bachelet said. Referring to reports of use of excessive force to force citizens to abide with lockdown rules, she noted that most violations have often been committed against people belonging to the poorest and most vulnerable segments of population.So is making it difficult or dangerous for a woman to get to hospital to give birth. In some cases, people are dying because of the inappropriate ....

Tribal animists beat pastor, threaten to destroy vocal cords to halt further evangelism

April 29 Christian Today

After demolishing a pastor's house and driving his family into the jungle, tribal animists in central India severely beat the Christian leader, threatening to destroy his vocal cords so he can no longer preach.
Nearly a month after tribal animists expelled the Christian family from Bilood village in Madhya Pradesh state and destroyed their home, tribal animists ambushed Pastor Lalu Kirade as he returned from a grocery store. Led by a man identified only as Laxman, seven individuals beat, choked, and pelted the pastor with a stone, Kirade told Morning Star News. "They had sprung on me like a pack of wild dogs," the pastor ...

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